On Mao, Ben, diplomavilles, eagles & turkeys, etc.

Ross Mackenzie
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Posted: Feb 16, 2006 12:05 AM

A snowy flurry of recent quotations on miscellaneous topics:

- Wall Street Journal reporters Susan Carey and Melanie Trottman, on U.S. airlines' economic outlook: "Several large airline operators, including Continental, Alaska Air and the newly merged US Airways, (were in the black in 2005). Among the discounters, which now control pricing on major routes, perennially profitable Southwest forecasts a 15-percent jump in profits for 2006. JetBlue, which (had) an unusual loss for 2005, is expected to return to profit in 2006 . . . .Meanwhile, seven airline stocks are trading near their 52- week highs."

- China authority Steven Mosher, in a review of the book "Mao: The Unknown Story" by Jung Chang and Jon Halliday: "The pinnacle of state exploitation (under Chinese Communist tyrant Mao Zedong) was reached with the people's communes, which were so efficient at squeezing China's villagers that tens of millions of them starved to death as a result. The food exported to pay for Mao's atomic bomb, the authors conclude, cost 38 million lives. Such losses were inconsequential for this ruthless megalomaniac, who blithely declared that, in pursuit of hegemony, 'half of China may well have to die.'" (Ed. Note: "Mao: The Unknown Story" is on sale this week at the Townhall Book Service for 20% off.)

- President Bush, on Islamist terrorism: "We will confront this mortal danger to all humanity. And we will not tire, and we will not rest until the war on terror is won."

- Rhonda Winfield of Stuarts Draft, Virginia, mother of Marine Lance Cpl. Jason Redifer, killed at 19 by a roadside bomb in Iraq: "Anyone who's experienced those uniforms coming to the door has the right to make their position known. I can understand wanting to protect any other mother from having to hear that news. But if you follow what (Cindy Sheehan) says, then our children's lives have been given in vain, and I know that's not true. . . . .If we (pull out of Iraq), that tells the world we've cut and run. You can't change your opinion just because it hit your child."

- Britisher Christopher Hitchens, a columnist and author widely circulated in the U.S.: "Benjamin Franklin . . . once proposed that the turkey instead of the eagle should be the American national bird. After all, as he noted, the eagle is an inedible and arrogant predator whereas the turkey is harmless to others, nutritious, thrifty, industrious and profuse. Pausing only to think of the variable slogans here ('Where Turkeys Dare,' 'The Turkey Has Landed,' 'On Wings of Turkeys,' and, by a stretch, 'Legal Turkeys'), I marvel to think that a nation so potentially strong could have had a Founding Father who was so irreverent."

- CBS White House correspondent John Roberts: "Conservatives were, quote, 'deliriously happy' over the choice of (Samuel) Alito. And why not? Alito's judicial philosophy so mirrors that of the Supreme Court's hardliner, Antonin Scalia, that he's been nicknamed 'Scalito.'"

- Washington Post reporters Michael Grunwald, Jo Becker, and Dale Russakoff in a page-one Alito profile: "The real Sam Alito, according to the lawyers and other friends who know him well, is more like the second coming of Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., but with a longer paper trail. They describe Alito as a studious, diligent, scholarly judge with a first-rate mind. . . . They don't know anyone who isn't a journalist who actually calls him 'Scalito.'"

- Tibor Machan, in an article titled "For Liberals, No One's Evil" for the October/November issue of Free Inquiry: "I am convinced that one of the main reasons (President Bush) won the election is that many Americans simply could not abide some of Kerry's supporters, academics and other intellectuals who scoff at the belief that there are morally right and wrong actions that people engage in throughout the world. . . . At least (Bush) appears to acknowledge an elementary fact about human life: Some folks act badly and are responsible for their actions, while others act decently and should be recognized. Not until liberals produce a philosophical/political vision that makes room for this position will they stop being at odds with the bulk of Americans."

- Forbes publisher Rich Karlgaard, noting that college towns rank among the best bargains in U.S. real estate: "Were I some kind of (investment) genius, I'd start a fund with properties in college towns: in Fayetteville, Gainsville, Knoxville, Starkville, and dozens of other Diplomavilles. Were (I to be fired) tomorrow, I'd sell my inflated California house . . . and move to Madison, Missoula, or Moscow (the one in Idaho) and buy a house for cash with my California funny money. Were I fresh out of college, newly married or with young mouths to feed, I'd look hard at the Bozemans, Blacksburgs and Baton Rouges. Why attempt to raise a family in a small apartment in New York, Washington, Los Angeles or San Francisco? Try Ames, Athens or Austin."